Re: RARA-AVIS: Theme of the Month: Work

From: Mario Taboada (
Date: 13 Apr 2001

Well,Bill, here are a few shots at the theme:

Westlake's Dortmunder must be one of the hardest-working crooks (also the dumbest and unluckiest, but that's another matter). The guy works with such doggedness and devotion, but what does he get in return?

Westlake's The Ax is one of the best (grimmest) novels about white-collar workers. It shows that you can always find something you're good at.

You just reminded me of how bleak Hamilton can be. Do you think Matt Helm is some sort of case? The pressure is constant and he has no life of his own.

About Keller: I like Hit Man but I wouldn't recommend reading the stories one after another. There's a sameness to them. The writing is brilliant and each story is good on its own, but there's the risk of surfeit [the risk of surfeit? that sounds like Ellroy or Henry James].

Dewey's Mac is a real worker. The guy gets the job done efficiently, not without compassion but without lingering or wavering. I suspect his novels are a lot closer to real detective work than many more famous ones.

About DKA: Hell, yes. Dan Kearny sweats every dollar he earns, as do his associates. He seems to derive no enjoyment from his profession. He and Matt Helm could have great conversations, or silences.

And that's enough for one day.

Best regards, and a special greeting to Captain Bill.



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